Scientists are calling the eruption of an underwater volcano the biggest recorded anywhere on the planet in more than 30 years. Tonga’s Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted on Saturday, January 15, 2022, with a huge plume of ash, gas and steam that spewed up to 13 miles into the atmosphere. The mushroom-like cloud covered the entire South Pacific Island kingdom and the tsunami that coastal areas experienced was frightening for many but rose 3 feet (80 centimeters), allowing most to escape. Communications to the island has been difficult with the local government stating there was damage to underwater fiber optic cables, cutting off most communications to the outside world.

Learn more about this volcanic eruption in the following news articles:

When crises occur, Maxar is committed to supporting the humanitarian community by providing critical and actionable information to assist response efforts and fulfill our purpose, For A Better World. As part of our Open Data Program, Maxar will publicly release data of the affected areas to support response efforts as it becomes available.

Any imagery or data distributed through the Open Data Program is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 license (CC BY-NC 4.0). This licensing allows for noncommercial use of the information, meaning it can quickly be integrated into first responder workflows with organizations like Team Rubicon, the Red Cross and other nonprofits. If commercial companies are interested in using the data distributed through the Open Data Program, it can be purchased by contacting us here.

Imagery has been posted on our Open Data Program website. Please continue to check this site and our social media channels for updates on additional post-event data.

Before and after satellite images of the town of Nuku'alofa, Tonga. The town covered in ash after the eruption.

Prev Post Back to Blog Next Post